This interface will soon cease to be publicly available. Use the new interface instead. Click here to switch over now.

Cookies on our website

We use cookies on this website, mainly to provide a secure browsing experience but also to collect statistics on how the website is used. You can find out more about the cookies we set, the information we store and how we use it on the cookies page.

Data from Samnordisk runtextdatabas

login: password: stay logged in: help

Einarr Skúlason (ESk)

12th century; volume 2; ed. Kari Ellen Gade;

III. 2. Fragments (Frag) - 18

We know very little about the life of Einarr Skúlason (ESk). He is called prestr ‘priest’ and is mentioned in a catalogue (c. 1220) of priests of noble birth who were alive in western Iceland in 1143 (Stu 1878, II, 502). It is likely that he came from Borg, belonged to the Mýrar family and was a direct descendant of Þorsteinn Egilsson and a brother of Snorri Sturluson’s maternal grandfather (LH 1894-1901, II, 62-3; ÍF 3, 51 n. 3). He was probably born c. 1090. In 1153, he recited the poem Geisli ‘Light-beam’ (ESk GeislVII) in Kristkirken in Trondheim. He was marshal (stallari) at King Eysteinn Magnússon’s court, and he composed poetry in praise of the Norw. kings Sigurðr jórsalafari ‘Jerusalem-farer’ and Eysteinn Magnússon, Haraldr gilli(-kristr) ‘Servant (of Christ)’, Magnús inn blindi ‘the Blind’ Sigurðarson, Haraldr gilli’s sons, Ingi, Sigurðr munnr ‘Mouth’, and Eysteinn, and about the Norw. chieftain Grégóríus Dagsson (see SnE 1848-87, III, 254-5, 263-4, 269, 276-7, 286). According to Skáldatal, he also honoured the Norw. magnate Eindriði ungi ‘the Young’ Jónsson as well as Sørkvir Kolsson and Jón jarl Sørkvisson of Sweden and King Sveinn Eiríksson of Denmark (SnE 1848-87, III, 252, 258, 260, 268-9, 272, 283, 286). About the latter he recited a poem for which he received no reward (see ESk Lv 3; ÍF 35, 275). The extant portion of his poetic oeuvre consists of the following poems (excluding lvv.): Sigurðardrápa I (Sigdr I, five extant sts about Sigurðr jórsalafari); Haraldsdrápa I (Hardr I, two extant sts about Haraldr gilli); Haraldsdrápa II (Hardr II, five extant sts about Haraldr gilli); Haraldssonakvæði (Harsonkv, two extant sts about the sons of Haraldr gilli); Sigurðardrápa II (Sigdr II, one extant st. about Sigurðr munnr Haraldsson); Runhenda (Run, ten extant sts about Eysteinn Haraldsson); Eysteinsdrápa (Eystdr, two extant sts about Eysteinn Haraldsson); Ingadrápa (Ingdr, four extant sts about Ingi Haraldsson); Elfarvísur (Elfv, two extant sts about Grégóríus Dagsson); Geisli (GeislVII, seventy-one sts about S. Óláfr); Øxarflokkr (ØxflIII, ten extant sts about the gift of an axe).

It must be emphasised that, although the poetry included in the royal panegyrics below clearly belongs to poems of that genre, with two exceptions (Hardr II and Elfv), all the names of the poems are modern constructs (notably by Jón Sigurðsson and Finnur Jónsson). That also holds true for the assignment of sts to the individual poems. In some cases, sts were assigned to a particular poem for metrical reasons (so Run), in other cases because of the content or the named recipients of the praise. For the sake of convenience, the names of the poems and the sts assigned to them as found in Skj have been retained in the present edn. In addition to the royal encomia, a number of fragments and lvv. attributed to Einarr are preserved in SnE, TGT and LaufE (see ESk Frag 1-18III; ESk Lv 7-15III). These have been edited separately in SkP III. Six lvv. are transmitted in the kings’ sagas and edited below.

Fragments — ESk FragIII

Kari Ellen Gade 2017, ‘ Einarr Skúlason, Fragments’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 151. <> (accessed 5 July 2022)

stanzas:  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18 

Skj: Einarr Skúlason: 12. Ubestemmelige vers, tilhørende forskellige fyrstedigte eller lausavísur (AI, 479-82, BI, 451-4)

SkP info: III, 157

old edition introduction edition manuscripts transcriptions concordance search files

6 — ESk Frag 6III

edition interactive full text transcriptions old edition references concordance


Cite as: Kari Ellen Gade (ed.) 2017, ‘Einarr Skúlason, Fragments 6’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 157.

Jón Sigurðsson (SnE 1848-87, III, 355) assigned this half-stanza (ESk Frag 6) to Einarr’s panegyric about Haraldr gillikristr (Hardr III; see Introduction to Frag 4 above). It is preserved in mss R (main ms.), , U, A, B (and 744ˣ) and C of Skm (SnE), as well as in LaufE (mss 2368ˣ, 743ˣ) and in RE 1665(Ff3) (copied from a LaufE ms.). The poet’s full name is given in SnE, whereas in LaufE the helmingr is attributed to Einarr skálaglamm ‘Tinkle-scales’ Helgason (EskálI), who composed the stanza (Eskál Vell 35I) directly preceding this helmingr.

Dolgskára kná dýrum
dýrr magnandi stýra
— Hugins fermu bregðr harmi
harmr — bliksólar Garmi.

{Dýrr magnandi {dolgskára}} kná stýra {dýrum Garmi {bliksólar}}; {harmr {fermu Hugins}} bregðr harmi.

{The splendid strengthener {of the battle-gull}} [RAVEN/EAGLE > WARRIOR] controls {the splendid Garmr <dog> {of the gleam-sun}} [SHIELD > WEAPON]; {the grief {of Huginn’s <raven’s> food}} [CORPSES > RAVEN/EAGLE] puts an end to its grief.

Mss: R(37v-38r), Tˣ(39v), U(40v), A(14r), B(6v), 744ˣ(44v), C(7r) (SnE); 2368ˣ(95), 743ˣ(74v) (LaufE)

Readings: [1] ‑skára: stála U;    kná: kná ek U    [2] magnandi: so Tˣ, A, B, 2368ˣ, magnaði R, C, magnandi at U, ‘magandi’ 743ˣ    [3] Hugins: ‘hugi[…]s’ B, ‘hugins’ 744ˣ, hug með 2368ˣ, hugsins 743ˣ;    fermu: ‘[…]’ B, ‘fermu’ 744ˣ, ‘fernu’ C;    bregðr: berr C    [4] harmr blik‑: ‘har[…]’ B, ‘harmr bli .’ 744ˣ, harmblik C;    harmr: ‘h'nar’ U;    Garmi: ‘[…]’ B, ‘garme’ 744ˣ

Editions: Skj: Einarr Skúlason, 12. Ubestemmelige vers, tilhørende forskellige fyrstedigte eller lausavísur 6: AI, 480, BI, 452, Skald I, 223, NN §3102; SnE 1848-87, I, 488-9, II, 353, 456, 543, 597, III, 100, SnE 1931, 172, SnE 1998, I, 91; LaufE 1979, 351.

Context: Huginn is given as a name or heiti for ‘raven’ in both Skm and LaufE.

Notes: [All]: The metre is dunhent ‘echoing-rhymed’, a variant of dróttkvætt characterised by repetition of internal rhymes from the odd lines to the even lines (here -ár- : -ýr- : -ýr-, -erm- : -arm- : -arm-;  see SnSt Ht 24). That metre is also used in Frag 8 below, and it could be that the two stanzas belonged to the same poem. — [3] Hugins ‘of Huginn’s <raven’s>’: Huginn (from hugi or hugr ‘mind’) was one of Óðinn’s ravens in Old Norse myth. See Note to Þul Hrafns 1/2 and Muninn in Frag 7/3 below. — [3] bregðr harmi ‘puts an end to its grief’: The grief of a raven or an eagle is its hunger. — [4] bliksólar ‘of the gleam-sun [SHIELD]’: This is an incomplete kenning for ‘shield’. Finnur Jónsson emends to borðsólar ‘of the gunwale-sun’ (LP: bliksól) or barðsólar ‘of the prow-sun’ (Skj B), i.e. ‘shield’. According to Kock (NN §3102), blik means ‘gold’, and he takes the cpd in the sense ‘the golden sun’ i.e. ‘the shield’. ‘Gold’ never serves as a determinant in kennings for ‘shield’, however (see Meissner 171-7). Faulkes (SnE 1998, I, 212) suggests that Garmi bliksólar ‘the Garmr of the shine of the sun’ could have been caused by scribal confusion with Mánagarmr (‘moon-hound’), the wolf that will eventually swallow the moon. It is possible that blik ‘gleam’, which frequently serves as a base-word in kennings for ‘sword’ (see Meissner 150), is used in an absolute meaning ‘sword’ (bliksól ‘sword-sun’ i.e. ‘shield’). — [4] Garmi ‘Garmr <dog>’: Garmr is the dog whose barking foreshadows the end of the world in Old Norse myth (see Vsp 44/1, 49/1, 58/1).

Runic data from Samnordisk runtextdatabas, Uppsala universitet, unless otherwise stated